BP: Oil Fields to Remain Open During Repairs

British Petroleum, operator of the Prudhoe Bay oilfield, says it will try to keep part of its production running while it replaces corroded pipes at the facility. An oil leak Sunday had forced BP to slash output at the field, America's largest.

News that a full shutdown has been avoided is welcome news to officials in Alaska, which has already lost millions of dollars in the partial shutdown. Alaska's economy is very dependent on oil — taxes from its oil fields account for more than 90 percent of its revenues.

State officials estimate that they have lost more than $3 million each day parts of the Prudhoe facility were closed for inspection and repairs. Libby Casey of member station KUAC reports.

The Prudhoe Bay Pipeline

Workers attempt to repair an oil leak at Prudoe Bay. BP/Getty Images hide caption

Map: Alaska and World Reserves
itoggle caption BP/Getty Images

Prudhoe Bay is the largest U.S. oilfield, representing 8 percent of domestic production. BP, which controls the oil rights, began shutting down the western portion of the field after a small leak — and extensive corrosion — was found.

Before the shutdown, the Prudhoe Bay field had been producing 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day. BP has announced that it will try to maintain a diminished flow of oil from the field as it works to repair or replace some 16 miles of pipeline.

Located on Alaska's North Slope, the Prudhoe Bay oil field was discovered in 1968. It remains the largest oil field in North America.

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